During the 1979 Iranian Revolution, many Americans came to know Ayatollah Khomeini as a stern, uncompromising political leader who hated America. The United States had helped install the Shah Pahlavi government in the 1950s, and was completely unprepared for the quick ascension of this little known religious cleric to the leadership of Iran. When it became clear that Ayatollah Khomeini was overwhelmingly supported by the Iranian people, the tone amongst US officials grew ominous.
At the same time, a group of Americans saw something other than the standard media coverage of the Imam and the events surrounding the Iranian Revolution. Muslim converts, especially those from the generation coming out of the 1960s civil rights movement, remember Ayatollah Khomeini in a different way. This web-based oral history project brings their voices, their memories, and their narratives about Khomeini – to light.
Director | Amy Nelson